This mushroom-shaped vessel would have been filled with wine and set to float in a large krater filled with ice-cold water. When the wine was cool enough it would have been removed and mixed with water before being drunk.
Satyrs were the followers of the wine-god Dionysos, and thus an appropriate subject for a wine-cooler. The ones shown here are performing various acrobatic feats involving wine cups. One wears the costume and carries the wand of the messenger god Hermes, and it has been suggested that the troupe may evoke the chorus of a satyr play, with Hermes as the leader.
Like his contemporary the Brygos Painter, Douris was a prolific cup painter of the early decades of the fifth century BC. Characteristic of his personal style are the curved ‘W' lines marking the satyrs' hips, and the small arc at the junction of the lines marking the lower boundary of the pectoral muscles.